Get ready for another production-spec sneak peek.
BMW continues to (very) slowly reveal bits and pieces of its all-new iNext. Due in 2021, the iNext is an all-electric SUV that will face off directly against the Mercedes EQC, Audi e-tron, and Tesla Model X. Previously, BMW released a teaser shot showing the curved instrument display. Today, we've been shown the steering wheel and, lo and behold, it's polygon-shaped. Although not nearly as radical-looking as the steering wheel from the iNext concept, also pictured here, this is still an all-new steering wheel type.
Because the iNext will be the first BMW in which the driver is no longer required to handle driving entirely by themselves (but can still take command at any time when the autonomous driving system is engaged), a special steering wheel was necessary.
With its polygonal geometry, BMW says this is perfect for switching between highly automated and active driving. Its motorsport-inspired unique contours optimize entry and seating comfort, along with providing a better view of the instrument cluster.
"The moment the driver re-takes control of the vehicle, they can detect the steering angle instantly – both visually and by means of touch," said BMW. There are also optical fibers integrated in the steering wheel's side sections that inform the driver of the availability of automated driving function via colored signals. This method is also utilized when the driver is required to take over active vehicle control themselves.
All in all, this polygonal steering wheel has advantages from both a technological and design perspective. BMW has yet to announce when the iNext SUV will debut. We also don't have a reveal date for the i5 sedan. Chances are, however, at least one of these vehicles will be unveiled to the world this September at the 2019 Frankfurt Motor Show. Along with BMW's newly installed CEO, Oliver Zipse, the German automaker is preparing to unleash tons of new product, most of which will be fully electrified and partially electrified vehicles. The iNext SUV and i5 sedan are only the beginning.